B Movie Buffet

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 16th April 2013.

Every so often I feel compelled to visit my local non-specific video store and take advantage of a special offer in order to bring you my B Movie Buffet. The popcorn is ready and the sneeze guard has been removed. Let me watch the dross so that you don’t have to.

First up in this cavalcade of clunkers is Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, a sequel to the 2006 original which was based on the Konami video game. Starring unknown Australian actress Adelaide Clemens, the film also features appearances from returning stars of the original, Sean Bean, Radha Mitchell and Deborah Kara Unger. Ah, the power of contractual obligation. The movie impressively adopts the nightmarish imagery of its source material. Abandoned hospitals, bizarre creatures, faceless scalpel wielding nurses…they’re all here. Just like the video game, the film also has no discernible plot whatsoever. The filmmakers really need to look up the meaning of “revelation” in the dictionary.

WWE Superstar Mike “The Miz” Mizanin stars as the third incarnation of the titular character in The Marine: Homefront, a direct-to-DVD entry in the franchise from WWE Studios. This reasonably new production company was established to showcase the acting talents of WWE wrestlers. Insert laughter here. In the prologue, the film explains that US marines are trained to deal with any situation. After watching this unintentionally hilarious film, this obviously includes saving your sister from terrorists embarking on the dumbest scheme ever with flaws and assumptions big enough to drive a tank through.

Next up on the conveyer belt of cheese is Red Dawn. A remake of the 1984 original which starred the late Patrick Swayze, this teen action flick was actually made in 2009 but delayed due to MGM’s financial problems. Prior to the film’s release last year, the remake’s villains were changed from a Chinese invading force to North Korean. There’s a lot of money to be made at the box office in China compared to North Korea, you see. Aussies Chris Hemsworth and Isabel Lucas lead up the Wolverines, a rebel fighting force formed by some good looking teens who manage to escape the initial invasion. In a ridiculous training montage, Hemsworth transforms the rag tag group into a tight military unit in a single day. Plot holes abound. How do the North Korean soldiers parachute into Spokane and then suddenly have tanks and jeeps? How do the Wolverines infiltrate the city to carry out their missions when everyone else appears to be locked down? Why do I care? My verdict: Tomorrow When the Bore Began.

Last up is the pick of the litter, although that’s not saying much. Here Comes the Boom stars Kevin James of The King of Queens fame. He plays a biology teacher who becomes an MMA fighter in order to raise funds to save his school’s music program, run by The Fonz. There are a few laughs to be had, and I must admit to rather enjoy seeing James, an incredibly annoying comic, get punched and kicked in the head. A predictable ending leaves a saccharine taste in the mouth, and it’s no surprise that this lightweight sports comedy comes from Happy Madison Productions, Adam Sandler’s production company.


Film Review: Searching for Sugarman

This review was originally published on The Orange Post on 3rd March 2013.

This year’s Oscars came and went with few surprises. Sure, Christoph Waltz beat out everybody’s favourite curmudgeon Tommy Lee Jones in the Best Supporting Actor category. And solid thriller Argo took out the Best Picture gong, over my pick, the brilliant Zero Dark Thirty. All of the other major categories fell as predicted to deserving winners in an awards ceremony that is rapidly losing relevance.

As always, picking up an Oscar directs millions of extra eyeballs towards a film. Argo, a movie that pretty much everyone except me had seen before the ceremony, will benefit with a boost in retail sales and rentals. Hell, even my mother was raving about Argo in January. I’ve since caught up, but for my money, the film that deserves its dues post-Oscars is the winner of the Best Documentary category, the amazing Searching for Sugarman.

Directed by Swede Malik Bendjelloul, the film focuses on Sixto Rodriguez, an American folk musician who recorded two little heard albums in the early seventies, Cold Fact and Coming from Reality, and then disappeared without a trace. In a bizarre twist of fate, a copy of Cold Fact made its way to South Africa, where Rodriguez’s anti-authoritarian lyrics found an audience in a country at war with itself over apartheid.

Half a million copies of Rodriguez albums were sold in South Africa, however, due to its political isolation for much of the seventies and eighties, little else was known about the singer. All they had was his likeness which adorned his record covers. Rumours circulated about his suicide which eventually became accepted fact.

The documentary follows two Cape Town fans, Stephen ‘Sugar’ Segerman and Craig Bartholomew Strydom, as they set out in the late nineties to find out what really happened to Rodriguez.

It would be a crime for me to say anything else about what happens next. What’s important is that you do not read anything else about this film (besides this review) before you see it.

The soundtrack, which consists of original Rodriguez tunes, is magnificent and I’m sure, like me, you’ll be adding a copy Cold Fact to your shopping list before the credits end.

Searching for Sugarman is a fascinating tale about a musician who unknowingly became an icon. His story and the search to find him are unbelievable, if not for the fact that it is a true tale. The film is a near perfect example of storytelling at its finest, and will stay with you long after its 86 minute running time.

Film Review: Wreck-It Ralph

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 18th December 2012.

Aficionados of old school video games have plenty of reasons to hit the cinema this holiday season. Disney’s latest animated feature Wreck-It Ralph takes place inside a traditional video game arcade. Borrowing from the Toy Story trilogy, the film sees the characters of said games come to life when the arcade closes. Linked together by an intricate public transport system (the power supply), the characters interact and mingle inside a central station (a power board).

Ralph is the villain of the video game Fix-It Felix Jnr, a thinly-veiled Donkey Kong clone. Outside business hours, Ralph attends a support group for video game bad guys. Unable to accept his fate, Ralph wants to be become a hero and sets off to make his dreams come true; however, his actions soon threaten the very existence of the video games and their inhabitants.

During the support group scenes, gamers will geek out to cameos from many beloved video game franchise antagonists including Clyde the ghost from Pac-Man, Doctor Robotnik from Sonic the Hedgehog, Kano from Mortal Kombat, Zangief from Street Fighter and Bowser from Super Mario Bros.

From the opening image of the Disney logo rendered in 8 bit, veteran animation director Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama) keeps the in-jokes coming for anyone old enough to remember when arcade games cost 20c, as well as ensuring there is an abundance of slapstick humour for the kiddies.

Like almost every animated feature nowadays, the voice talent for Wreck-It Ralph features several big name actors from the realms of television and film. John C. Reilly lends his dulcet tones (and likeness) to the titular character alongside comedian Sarah Silverman as the precocious kart driver Vanellope, 30 Rock’s Jack McBrayer as Ralph’s nemesis (and Mario clone) Felix and Glee’s Jane Lynch as a battle hardened Halo-ish soldier. Reilly and Silverman are perfectly cast, however, McBrayer and Lynch oddly channel their TV alter egos Kenneth Parcell and Sue Sylvester, respectively. I would have preferred that they try something different.

The visuals are spot-on. The game play of several iconic video games is lovingly recreated when we see them from a player’s perspective, and are beautifully rendered into detailed 3D environments when we enter the “real world” inside the games. The 3D (apparently compulsory for every animated feature nowadays) is fine but certainly not vital to your enjoyment of the film.

Don’t be late for your screening. Wreck-It Ralph is accompanied by Paperman, an excellent romantic animated short in black and white.

Wreck-It Ralph is great fun and easily my favourite animated feature of the year. I have a feeling that it may underperform at the box office this holiday season as it faces stiff competition from hobbits and warbling revolutionaries. Take a child and you’ll both love it for different reasons. Highly recommended.

Published in: on December 25, 2012 at 08:25  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , ,

Taken for a ride – Review: Taken 2

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 16th October 2012.

“I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don’t have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that’ll be the end of it. I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don’t, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

With this ominous speech in 2008’s Taken, actor Liam Neeson completely altered his Hollywood persona from a serious dramatic actor to a bona fide action star. A surprise package, Taken was an unexpected hit at the box office. As retired CIA agent Bryan Mills, Neeson has only four days to track down his daughter, Kim, after she is kidnapped by Albanian human traffickers in Paris.

Using guns, knives, fists, torture and electricity, Neeson destroys 35 bad guys during the course of the movie. Taken is a bloody, violent affair which doesn’t attempt to hide the outcomes of combat, and I really enjoyed it.

Of course, a hit movie pretty much guarantees a sequel, and in the immortal words of Bruce Willis’ John McClane  in Die Hard 2, “How can the same s**t happen to the same guys twice?” Well, Willis is now onto his fifth Die Hard film and last week, Neeson returned to the silver screen as Bryan Mills in Taken 2.

Unfortunately, if like me you prefer your brawn to come with brains, you’ll be disappointed with Taken 2 as it’s possibly one of the most stupid films of the year. This time, Neeson takes his ex-wife and daughter (Famke Janssen and Maggie Grace, reprising their roles from the original) to Istanbul where they are targeted by the revenge seeking relatives of the deceased Albanians from the first film, led by Rade Serbedzija (best known for playing Dmitri Gredenko in season 6 of 24 and numerous other eastern European baddies).

Vengeful relatives travelling to improbable locations in a movie sequel? That would be the plot of the craptastic Jaws: The Revenge (1987) stolen wholesale. In fact, I think I’d rather watch Michael Caine make a shark explode by hitting it with a boat than watch Taken 2 again.

As an insult to intelligent Albanian human traffickers everywhere, the film also utilises the ridiculous plot conceit from the original camp Batman TV series. With known lethal weapon Neeson captured and tied up with his ex-wife in a basement, the villains reveal their plans, set up a death trap for the pair and happily leave them to escape.

Rubbing salt into our wounds, to broaden the potential audience, the violence has been toned down to an M rating, alienating the action movies fans who championed the original in the first place.

Neeson turned 60 this year, which surely makes him eligible for membership in The Expendables. Despite this, Taken 3 seems inevitable. In the meantime, go and see Looper instead, or better still, rewatch the original.

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 11:14  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The Beach Boys 50th Anniversary Tour Review

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 11th September 2012.

Last month I finally fulfilled a lifetime dream. I sang live with The Beach Boys. Well, to be fair, I sang along with The Beach Boys. Close enough.

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, the surviving original members of the legendary Californian supergroup regrouped for a brand new studio album and world tour, which hit Australian shores in August. Their Sydney gig at Allphones Arena was almost sold out and I was lucky enough to acquire seats within metres of the stage.

The crowd was mostly baby boomers but I certainly wasn’t the youngest person there, although it’s possible that I was the youngest person there without my parents, or grandparents. A cashed up crowd, there was already lines twenty deep at the merchandise stand by the time I arrived at the arena. With t-shirts at $50 each, I’m sure there were plenty of punters spending their kids’ inheritance money to beef up The Beach Boys’ retirement fund.

Prior to the show, I had looked up some live clips of the band from the last time that they were all playing together – the late eighties. To my dismay, I stumbled across a concert when they were joined onstage by the Tanner Family. That’s right, The Beach Boys guest starred on an episode of the atrocious sitcom Full House in 1988 that culminated in a live concert vocal massacre of Kokomo and Barbara Ann. I sure hoped the band had gotten rid of their daggy eighties stage clothes and more importantly, left Danny, Joey and Uncle Jesse behind.

To my relief, The Beach Boys have updated their wardrobes to tasteful Hawaiian shirts (is that possible?) and are certainly up to date with technology. From my seat I was able to observe lead singer Mike Love check his mobile phone for messages before climbing the stairs to the stage at the start the show.

Joined by an ultra tight backing group featuring members from Brian Wilson’s solo touring band, the boys were in fine voice. Their trademark harmonies were glorious as they ploughed through a whopping 52 song set over two sets. Hit after hit, the band covered five decades of music from their early tunes about surfing, girls and cars right through to their sophisticated wall of sound masterpieces from the Pet Sounds and Smile albums.

Audience interaction was kept to a minimum with only a small amount of banter every couple of songs. Mike Love’s self-deprecating jokes about the band’s advanced age were predictable but funny. Most noticeable was the lack of any obvious camaraderie between the original band members. I guess after fifty years together on the tour bus, there isn’t much left to say.

Three hours with The Beach Boys went by in a flash and before I knew it, I was thrust back into the sterile foyer area to find that almost all of the merchandise was sold out. Not so fun fun fun.

If The Beach Boys make it to their 60th anniversary, you can be sure that I’ll be there to sing along with them, dance badly to their hits and buy my merchandise much earlier.

Published in: on October 9, 2012 at 01:07  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Box Set Bonanza 2012

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 2nd October 2012.

Every October, dark forces return to unleash unspeakable horrors upon our supermarket and department store shelves. No, I’m not talking about Halloween. I mean the Christmas merchandise that’s already started to appear in our stores. So if it’s good enough for a multinational corporation, it’s good enough for me. In preparation for the silly season, here are my picks for the best box sets to buy for your favourite movie fanatic (or Tuesday columnist).

If too much Bond is never enough, grab Bond 50 – The James Bond Collection which celebrates half a century of Bond adventures with 22 films on 22 discs. If you buy the blu-ray set, there’s also an extra disc full of exclusive new content. Unfortunately, the non-canon Never Say Never Again from 1983 is not included, which is a shame because I’d gladly exchange it for the invisible car and wooden Madonna performance from Die Another Day. With the latest Band mission, Skyfall, hitting cinemas in November, a space has been generously left in the box for you to complete your collection next year. You can then rest easy knowing you own every single minute of Bond goodness, until the next movie is announced and you’ll have to buy a new box set. Start saving your money, Penny.

Speaking of great franchises, Indiana Jones has finally taken the leap to high definition. Indiana Jones – The Complete Adventures features all three original films on beautiful blu-ray, plus an extra disc chock full of bonus stuff. The films have been remastered under the supervision of Steven Spielberg, with Raiders of the Lost Ark receiving a complete restoration from the original print and sound mix. The set also includes a special Indiana Jones coaster. You can protect your tabletops knowing that The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has finally found a useful purpose.

The Universal Monsters Collection on blu-ray celebrates the 100th anniversary of Universal Studios by unleashing some of its iconic creature features in high definition. Featuring a 48 page book and 8 discs, I can’t wait to get my hands on this one and experience horror classics Dracula, Frankenstein, The Mummy, The Invisible Man, Bride of Frankenstein, The Wolf Man and Phantom of the Opera for the first time. Best of all, The Creature from the Black Lagoon will make his (or is it her, or its) debut in blu-ray 3D.

Finally, the master of suspense has been given a high definition makeover to bring you Alfred Hitchcock – The Masterpiece Collection. The box set features 14 Hitchcock  classics including Rear Window, Frenzy, Psycho and Vertigo, plus every ornithophobe’s favourite, The Birds.  There is also 15 hours of bonus content for your enjoyment. Strangely, my favourite Hitchcock flick, North by Northwest, is not featured. Neither is Gus Van Sant’s disastrous 1998 shot for shot remake of Psycho, which is good thing.

One last thing, all of these box sets are labelled as limited editions. This is a rather meaningless marketing term nowadays so don’t rush out and buy them all just in case. With all of the above around or above the $100 mark, the limiting factor may well be your wallet.

Olympic Thoughts: Stephanie Rice, Status Quo, Coles and McDonalds Glasses

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 31st July 2012.

According to the latest Olympic themed ad from a well known burger chain, their promotional glasses come alive at night and practice pole jumping. That might explain why my collection of glasses from the 2008 Beijing games have all accidentally met their maker on my kitchen floor in the past few months.

Writing of the Olympics, I was enjoying the live television coverage when I was confronted by a commercial informing me that Coles was the official supermarket for the Australian Team. Ah, exactly when during their time in London would the Aussie athletes be shopping at a Coles supermarket? Of course, they’d be buying their bread and permeate free milk at the same imaginary one in the UK that Dawn French and English rockers Status Quo buy their Vegemite and Tim Tams. Sorry, my mistake.


Earlier this month, Coles became the first supermarket chain to release their own music video. That’s right, Status Quo have recorded a 3 minute promotional video for their reworked (and reworded) 1975 hit Down Down. Complete with big red foam hands, the tongue in cheek (I hope) video is available to view on YouTube. Expect to see it on Rage sometime soon.

Whilst I would never deny anyone the opportunity to make a buck, it seems a shame that Coles hasn’t enlisted the help of a washed up Aussie band to promote their stores. I’m sure the world’s greatest INXS tribute band, known as INXS, would happily adapt their hits. Get out your big red hands folks and sing along with Need Milk Tonight and What You Need (is Cheap Bread).

It shouldn’t be too hard to find an Aussie band whose best days are behind them. Just follow the signs to A Day on the Green. Come to think of it, I’ll take Status Quo anytime rather than hear another second of Normie Rowe’s awful Coles TV commercial. It’s hard to put your fingers in your ears with big red foam hands.


I really felt sorry for Stephanie Rice after her disappointing performance in the 400m individual medley. The expectations of a nation must be a pretty heavy burden, especially when you’re a returning triple gold medallist. So much can happen in a space of four years.

The state of the art LCD TV I bought especially to watch the 2008 Beijing games has already been replaced by a bigger and better state of the art LCD TV. I rented a unit in 2008. Now I have a house and mortgage. Four years ago, it wasn’t possible to photograph yourself in a bikini and tweet it to the world, along with some inappropriate gaffes.

Seriously though, the idea that you can continue to maintain the fitness, discipline and training to be the best in the world again, despite becoming four years older, is ridiculous. This simple fact makes the achievements of dual gold medallists even more miraculous and amazing, and everyone else, well, human. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.


Four years ago, I had to pay an extra $50 for the Olympic channels on pay TV. This time around, I just had to add the Sports Package for $18 which gets me 8 channels in HD. Thanks Foxtel. Now I can feel less guilty when I lose interest in the Olympics after a couple of days and go back to watching cartoons.

Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 24th July 2012.

Rarely does a film trilogy manage to maintain its quality and momentum throughout the entire series. Many franchises start strongly and falter along the way as studios place pressure on creative forces to ensure that more money is raked in each time.

In recent years we’ve seen Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy begin with two brilliant entries but lose its way in the final chapter (Emo Peter Parker is best forgotten). The (then) Wachowski Brother’s The Matrix set up an intriguing world within a world but then threw it all away with two under baked sequels (and a credibility erasing rave party scene). And let’s not mention The Godfather: Part III or Jurassic Park III.

There are exceptions to the rule, of course. The Indiana Jones trilogy (note that I said trilogy) and the original Star Wars flicks (Ewoks notwithstanding) are classics and practically critic proof. Same goes with the Back to the Future, Toy Story and The Lord of the Rings franchises.

So it was with excitement and some trepidation that I ventured in to see Christopher Nolan’s final chapter in his Batman series. After a strong opening and then a sequel that surpassed the original with a memorable performance from the late Health Ledger as The Joker, Nolan had declared that this would be his final visit to Gotham City and the good news is that he doesn’t disappoint.

Most importantly, try to catch The Dark Knight Rises in IMAX. Nolan shot over an hour of the film in IMAX and the format suits the grand scope of the cinematography well. As far as I’m concerned, IMAX is the future of cinema, not 3D.

The performances are all uniformly solid. Bale once again brings gravitas and vulnerability to the Bruce Wayne / Batman role, although I still have no idea why he suddenly requires a cough drop as soon as he dons the Batsuit. Michael Caine makes the most of Alfred Pennyworth with a couple of great scenes which essentially bookend the film.

I’ve never been a big fan of Anne Hathaway but I have to admit that she won me over as Selena Kyle (the name Catwoman is never uttered in the film). As a skilled cat burglar torn between Batman and the bad guys, Hathaway brings charisma and sassiness to a character that could easily have been played as a wisecracking sidekick (see Alicia Silverstone’s Batgirl).

Tom Hardy is virtually unrecognisable as the principal villain; the muscle bound masked mercenary Bane. Much had been made of his incomprehensible voice in the trailer, but I had no problems understanding Hardy who appears to be channelling Darth Vader and Colonel Sander’s lovechild.

The story picks up eight years after the last film. Bruce Wayne is a broken man, both physically and mentally. Only Bane’s terrorist attacks on Gotham City can convince him to become The Dark Knight for potentially the last time.

Nolan’s screenplay, co-written with his brother Jonathan, gives everyone their moment to shine and neatly wraps up all of the storyline strands from the previous chapters. A few plot holes and lapses in logic may leave you scratching your head after the fact (see my website for the plot holes after you have seen the film) but at the time, it’s hard not to be captivated by Nolan’s superb ability as a storyteller.

I can’t recall a film in recent memory that makes its hero suffer for the audience as much as The Dark Knight Rises but in my books, this magnificent final entry in Nolan’s Batman trilogy is one of this year’s best films.

Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 11:43  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Masterchef…insert fireball here

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 17th July 2012.

I’ve really been enjoying this current season of Masterchef. Based on the latest ratings, it looks like people are finally starting to tune in during these final weeks of the competition. I was addicted to the first season and I think that this year has been just as fun. The contestants are likeable (I’ve learnt what happens to disillusioned physiotherapists) and the format is familiar and comfortable.

I’m so used to the Masterchef format that I’ve become immune to their cliffhanger commercial breaks. No longer do I get frustrated when an important announcement is interrupted by a fireball explosion.

In fact, Masterchef has started to creep into my real life. This morning, when I got to the front of the queue at the coffee cart at work I simply made a fireball whooshing sound and then came back three minutes later to tell them what I wanted.

The show has also been useful for expanding my culinary vocabulary. I now know that caramelisation means to burn something, a roulade is a sausage made with clingwrap, a klosh is the sound it makes when you drop it and a deconstructed dish is what happens if it gives you food poisoning.

Published in: on July 19, 2012 at 10:28  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Beach Boys are Back

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 5th June 2012.

Stop the presses! One of my favourite bands of all time is coming to our shores. To celebrate their 50th anniversary, The Beach Boys will play Sydney on August 30.

Sure, the band has toured Australia several times in recent years but with a stripped down line-up of original lead vocalist Mike Love and long time member Bruce Johnston (he joined four years after the inception of the band in 1965), along with a backing band.

For this year’s reunion tour, the three other surviving members of the group, Brian Wilson, Al Jardine and David Marks are returning to the fold and the results should be fun, fun, fun.

It’s been twenty years since musical genius Brian Wilson has worked with the band. Responsible for The Beach Boys sound and its multi layered instrumental arrangements and harmonies, Wilson has been recording and touring as a solo act since becoming estranged from the group in the eighties due to mental illness and drug abuse. I’ve seen Brian Wilson in concert twice now. Along with an exceptionally tight backing band he puts on an unforgettable show.

50th anniversary reunions mustn’t come cheap. Either that, or the boys’ superannuation accounts need a big top up. The Ultimate Meet and Greet Package for the Sydney gig will set you back just over $1200 per person. You’ll get a ticket in the first five rows, exclusive souvenirs, food, unlimited booze and a programme. But that’s not all, you’ll also get to meet members of The Beach Boys and have a personal photo with them. Good value? Who cares? This is a unique opportunity and I’d love the VIP experience, but the mortgage says no. Please send cheques care of the Central Western Daily.

A new studio album and single also accompanies the tour. Both are entitled, “That’s Why God Made the Radio”. Released yesterday worldwide, the new single features the classic harmonies that made the band famous.

If you’ve still got some spare cash lying around after you’ve bought your VIP concert package, a mere $500 will get you the new CD, a t-shirt, poster and a very limited edition uncut proof sheet of the album artwork signed by all five members of The Beach Boys.

If you prefer the old stuff, the legendary Smile album boxset, complete with a full size surfboard signed by Brian Wilson will set you back $6000. Don’t delay, according to The Beach Boys website, there are only five sets remaining.

My favourite album of all time is Pet Sounds. My favourite song is God Only Knows. What is a Beach Boys fan with a cash flow problem to do? Rhonda wasn’t able to help, but Visa certainly did.

I’m not in the first five rows for the gig, but I managed to get great seats. I won’t be meeting the band either but that’s OK. I’ve always felt that there was something a little grubby about paying for someone’s autograph. The CD and t-shirt are on their way from the US but my uncut artwork proof is sans signatures.

With any luck, the 50th anniversary Beach Boys album and Australian tour will be a once in a lifetime event. Considering the extortionate prices of tickets and merchandise, it better be.

The Beach Boys play Allphones Arena on August 30.